The new school year is quickly approaching in the Huntington UFSD. About 4,600 students are expected to walk through the doors of the eight buildings on Wednesday, September 5 after a typically busy summer for the district.
Building and department leaders are back on the job and teachers are slowly filtering into schools and organizing their classrooms so that everything will be in place when the bell rings to start the year.
“As we prepare to welcome our students back to school in a few weeks, I’d like to take this opportunity to, once again, share my gratitude for your unwavering commitment to our children and their families,” wrote Superintendent James W. Polansky in a letter sent to the district’s faculty and support staff members last week. “Huntington remains a terrific community within which to raise and educate children in large part due to your efforts.”
Huntington Superintendent James W. Polansky. (Darin Reed photo.)
The district’s annual convocation is set for Tuesday, September 4. Huntington School Board President Jennifer Hebert and Mr. Polansky will address employees. Building and department level faculty meetings will follow later in the day. Teachers will use remaining time to put the finishing touch on their respective classroom preparations.
As district officials continue to pursue their goal of improving academic performance, administrators and teachers will be more determined than ever. Dozens of faculty members used the summer to complete graduate level courses. Many others pursued curriculum projects while even more participated in one of the district’s summer classroom programs.
“During my own reflections this summer, I was reminded of a few things that are of importance to all of us as we approach a new beginning,” Mr. Polansky said. “It goes without saying that the relationships that we have built with our students and colleagues remain paramount. I have always appreciated the efforts put forth by Huntington staff members toward making our students feel safe and at home within our schools. Even for those who struggle with something on a given day, it is much easier to endure an environment within which one perceives that they are genuinely cared about and for. Similarly, I have also enjoyed witnessing firsthand the professional collaboration that occurs so routinely in Huntington. While it is a privilege to work with the children as we do, not every day is easy. No obstacle, however, seems insurmountable with the level of collegial support that exists in our schools.”
Buildings and grounds staff thoroughly cleaned every school building during July and August, scrubbing desks and walls and polishing floors. Numerous facility related projects were completed over the summer, including a new roof at Washington Primary School, new bathrooms and classroom doors, electrical and technological upgrades, new flooring and lighting, new offices, new heating pumps and valves and installation of ductless air conditioning among other work.
The transportation office has been working with Huntington Coach Corp. to iron out wrinkles in bus routes prior to the opening of the new school year. The district’s technicians have been busy installing various pieces of equipment for teacher and student use. Huntington will continued incorporating greater use of technology into teaching and learning.
Equipment and supplies have been delivered to each of the district’s eight buildings and the items are being placed in classrooms. All of Huntington UFSD’s programs will be fully up and running on the first day of classes.
“Please continue to recognize the significance of sharing a kind word or action,” wrote Mr. Polansky to employees. “You never know what might be occurring behind the scenes with a student or colleague. Going out of your way to say ‘hello,’ share a kind word or even a small degree of appreciation can make a world of difference for someone else. In fact, you many never know the impact it may have. Always assume that there is something you can do to make another person’s day a little brighter.”
Now in his eighth year as superintendent, Mr. Polansky urged employees to “focus on the premise that this year, in fact every day, is a new beginning. Despite any individual or collective challenges a student or adult has faced in the past, and if school is a place where all are supposed to grow, there is no better mindset to maintain.”
Since the first day of public education in Huntington on February 11, 1657 with teacher Jonas Holdsworth, the community has been providing its young people with the finest classroom experience possible. That same tradition will continue in 2018/19.